Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Improvement to the Charcoal Reviews

We are close to publishing a new lump charcoal review and thought we'd alert you to a change in the format of our upcoming reviews. Those of you who are familiar with our lump charcoal reviews will no doubt recognize the image to the right which shows the "Quick Stats" section that appears in every review. As you can see, this section of the review provides a quick overview of the charcoal and it includes the results of our tests related to burn time and ash production.

We decided to make a small improvement to this section, in keeping with the changes we made to our ranking pages some time ago. We were constantly getting emails from readers who were confused by the terms we used when categorizing the performance of the charcoal. For example, if the ash production graphic in the Quick Stats section said "Low", did that mean that it produced a low amount of ash, or did that mean that its performance was low compared to other brands? One is good, while the other is bad. We tried to assist by color coding the graphis (green is good, red is bad) but we still received emails from folks having difficulty with our graphics.

As a result, on our ranking pages, we switched to using stars, where 1 star was poor performance and 5 stars was superior performance. This resulted in a big drop in the emails asking us to clarify the way we reported charcoal test performance.

We are now going to move this improvement into our reviews by doing two things. First we are taking the ash production and burn time graphics out of the Quick Stats section. Instead we are now going to include a new section at the beginning of the review labeled "Key Performance Indicators." You can see a sample in the image at right. This new section will appear just below the Quick Stats section.

Second, this new section will use the 1 to 5 star graphics from our ranking pages to indicate the performance of the charcoal, and for the first time, reviews will now include the performance graphic for all 5 of our key tests:
  • Chips and dust content
  • Lighting performance
  • Maximum temperature
  • Burn time performance
  • Ash production

As far as all of the existing reviews, we won't be going back and updating all 86 reviews with this new section, but we will replace the old graphic indicators with the new 1 to 5 stars graphics to try to make it easier to understand which brands did well and which brands did poorly in our testing of burn time and ash production.

We hope this little improvement will help you as you read our upcoming reviews.



At March 24, 2011 at 6:18 PM , Blogger Chris said...

I never had a problem with the old system but I like the extra factors considered now. Smart move!

At March 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous TNW said...

We just thought that we'd pull the other three things we quantify out of the review and get them visible in the summary. We figure most folks will read the review the first time it is published but after that a lot of folks will be skimming reviews to look for the "key performance indicators." Thanks for the comment!



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